Israel Drops Mass Deportation Plans
The Israeli government has given up on an effort to force thousands of African refugees out of the country after running into myriad legal and political obstacles.
The government announced plans in January to force 40,000 mainly Sudanese and Eritreans who fled to the country to leave for “third countries” or face indefinite detention.
The Supreme Court struck down indefinite detention and the government struggled to get agreement from Uganda and Rwanda, where Israel has sent Eritreans and Sudanese for years, to accept deportees.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a deal with UNHCR to relocate many of the refugees elsewhere, but it collapsed within hours under right-wing pressure.
“At this stage, the possibility of carrying out an unwilling deportation to a third country is not on the agenda,” the government told the Supreme Court. Netanyahu then pledged to draft laws allowing him to reopen detention centers for refugees.
Italy’s Top Court Rejects NGO Appeal for Release of Rescue Ship
Italy’s top court rejected an appeal by a Mediterranean rescue NGO for the release of its boat, which was seized by authorities eight months ago.
The Iuventa, operated by German NGO Jugend Rettet, was impounded in Sicily amid a crackdown on refugee rescue operations in the Mediterranean last summer.
Following an undercover investigation, Sicilian prosecutors ordered the ship to be captured while they investigate allegations of collusion with smugglers.
Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation rejected Jugend Rettet’s appeal and will soon publish an explanation for the decision.
“We are devastated by the Court’s ruling,” the NGO said. “But we will fight for the right to rescue people in distress at sea.”
Last week, Italian authorities released another boat run by Spanish aid group Proactiva Open Arms that was impounded last month after rescuing refugees and migrants at sea.
Floods Wash Away Homes, Belongings in Kenya’s Dadaab Camp
Flash floods destroyed hundreds of homes in northern Kenya and forced refugees in one of the world’s largest camps to take shelter in school buildings.
The flooding risks causing an outbreak of disease in Dadaab, the sprawling complex of camps that houses some 250,000 mostly Somali refugees, according to aid group Save the Children.
“Children are children and they want to play in the water, which is practically toxic. They don’t realise it could be fatal,” said Save the Children’s Dadaab manager Caleb Odhiambo. “What’s more, the floodwaters are washing away people’s belongings, livestock and homes, and families are living in open areas without access to shelter or food.”
Refugees in the camp face pressure to return to Somalia as well as dwindling aid, including an impending World Food Programme ration cut.
“In Dadaab, the refugees feel doomed either way because when there’s a drought, there’s no food and when it rains, there’s disease,” Odhiambo said.